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Books Noted: Terese Svoboda, Weapons Grade

 

University of Arkansas Press, 2009

In the sharp, edgy poems of Weapons Grade, Terese Svoboda draws readers into the disturbing violence and power struggles of the present. Steeped in current political situations, as well as the timeless, complex entanglements among family members and sexual partners, Svoboda draws dread close, ferrets out guilt, and puts a spotlight on surreal and dire fears. Yet she maintains a sense of edgy play and irony the whole time. Maureen Seaton writes, "Weapons Grade is both whistleblower and elegy, a tour de force in the expansive in-your-face tradition of Susan Griffin and Garry Trudeau. Svoboda is an indefatigably American writer of conscience and acuity—a documentarian and saboteur, satirist and sharp-tongued citizen, her poems dangerous and heartbreaking." Svoboda's verbal acuity is on display in the intriguing beginning of "Occupation":

Resistance fighters resist,
not insurgents
who just want to live
where they live.

We are occupied
(as in port-a-potty)
by p.r. No one cries
censored—or shitty.

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